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An Obvious Snub

January 20, 2010

Indians are very angry – this was clear from the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket player’s auction. Indians are seething with anger at the unprovoked, uncalled for and totally unacceptable continuous assault from across the border. And these attacks on India do not seem to subside. This professional cricket league, one of the top ten professional sporting events in the world had millions of dollars at stake. Players from all cricket playing countries were up for grabs and that included the world T20 champion team Pakistan. It is true that many of the Pakistan players are top quality performers. Eleven Pakistan players were offered to the franchisees, but when their names were called, there was silence all around and there were no bids. All eleven Pakistan players went ‘cold’ and they shall not be a part of the IPL3.

There has been an outcry in the media – both electronic and print, at this obvious snub of the Pakistan players. The media is calling this an ‘insult’ of the Pakistan players. Pakistan players, taking a cue from the Pakistan friendly Indian media have also joined in and have called the whole auction a ‘farce’. Their contention is that if they were not going to be any bids for them why include them at all in the process? They have a point, but they fail to see or perhaps deliberately do not want to see that an average Indian is absolutely unforgiving for what Pakistan has been doing here. The 26/11 Mumbai attacks have shocked the nation and people from all walk of life have lost patience with Pakistan. Most of the franchise owners are residents of Mumbai and frequent places like the Taj and the Oberoi on a regular basis. The simple question that comes to their mind is, what if any or some of them were having a relaxing dinner at one of these places when the terrorists struck? Would they have survived? Terrorism has given a call not only to the common Indian but to the very top echelons of the Indian society. What if a couple of terrorists enter the residence of one of the top industrialist or a politician or a film personality like they did in the Chabad House? What if they shoot their families after a protracted negotiation like they did the Jewish couple and their guests? The cries of baby Moshe and other kids who have been left orphan have not been missed by anyone. India has been wounded like never before. And the wounds run deep. When the IPL franchisees failed to bid for any of the Pakistan players they were echoing the sentiments of millions of Indians who are very bitter with their neighbors in the west. They are saying out loud and clear – stop this and stop this now.

The bad news is that Pakistan fails to understand the depth of Indian anger against their macabre ways. Pakistanis continue to fire along the line of control and a few of our soldiers were killed and another few dozen injured in the past few months. Firing from the other side continues unabated. The terrorist attacks continue too. The attack on Hotel Punjab in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk which was popular with Gujarati tourists left three Indians dead and a few injured. Again there was phone conversation between the terrorists who entered Punjab Hotel and their handlers from across the border like they had during the Mumbai attacks. Has anything changed? The answer is a resounding no. To add insult to injury Pakistan authorities have brushed aside six dossiers that Indian government has given them as regards the 26/11 attacks. The perpetrators of these attacks roam around freely and there is a reluctance among the Pakistan authorities to initiate any legal proceedings against them. This has hurt Indians immensely. The ‘anguish’ of Pakistan players is uncalled for and they would do well to just keep shut. They need to get their house in order before anyone would like any kind of interaction with them, sporting or social.

There is a theory doing the rounds that all the franchise owners had made a joint decision against bidding for the Pakistan players. This could be true and this could also be a natural, spontaneous reaction from the team owners. When they say that they did not decide before the bidding started that no one will bid for Pakistan players, there is no reason for anyone to disbelieve them. The apologists for the Pakistan players will point out that sports and politics should not be mixed. Well, that may be true but security of any nation, any society comes first and then anything else. This is not politics, these are security issues and this was one way of showing our displeasure against the constant terror threat that emanates from Pakistan. There can be an argument that the Pakistan players have nothing to do with terrorism. That is true but they are a part of the Pakistan society and terrorism emanating from Pakistan will not end until and unless the ordinary Pakistani makes it clear to the powers that be that they do not want Pakistan to harm its neighbor India in any way. Pakistan claims that they are a thriving democracy, if so, then it becomes incumbent on ordinary Pakistani to make it very clear to those in Islamabad that Pakistan and terror should not become synonymous as they are now. The ultimate responsibility for the terror attacks on India originating from Pakistan soil fall on the shoulders of the people of Pakistan. It is with much regret that I have to say that the people of Pakistan have a sense of glee when there is any attack on India. Pakistanis cannot brush aside these attacks as those of the jihadis, something that does not concern them. Indians are revolted by such behavior and cannot understand how someone can celebrate another’s discomfort.

In the current atmosphere it would have been very stupid to let Pakistan players be a part of the IPL. They must understand the Indian anger and frustration and now, a lack of patience with them. This is not an anti-Muslim stand – this is an anti Pakistan stand that the IPL franchisees have taken. Mohammad Kaif of UP and Abdullah of South Africa were both snapped up by the King’s Eleven Punjab. Lalit Modi, the IPL Commissioner clarified that there was no advisory from the government of India against picking Pakistan players. He further tried to play this down saying that even the Australian players had not been picked by any of the franchisee except for Damien Martin. The reason for not picking Aussie players was different. They were available only for a few matches because they had national duties and they always give their national selection more importance – as they should. But that makes them a burden rather than an asset as they leave the team midway and that makes the whole exercise a cumbersome process. Damien Martin is not in the Australian side and therefore he was available for the whole of the IPL making him an attractive prospect.

Suffice to say that what has happened in the third edition of the IPL vis-à-vis the Pakistan players is just a precursor of the things to come. Pakistan has the dubious distinction of having one in two visa application rejected for the US – the highest percentage in the world. The world is wary of Pakistan and Pakistanis. No one wants to know them any longer. Efforts by the Times of India and Pakistan daily Jung called Aman ki Asha are lip service to gloss over a very fundamental problem that afflicts Pakistan and all such campaigns have fallen deaf on Indian ears. Those mouthing such conciliatory, stupidly sentimental poems fail to see the reality as it is and in the process make a fool of their own selves! The wretched, moronic smile with which Amitabh Bachchan recites those lines calling for brotherhood between the people of the two nations is more an affront on the sensibilities of the Indian people than anything else.  Campaigns like Aman ki Asha should be stopped immediately, at least for now. Pakistan needs to put its house in order and abandon terrorism as an instrument of state policy. The argument that Pakistan itself is a victim of terror does not hold water as it is homegrown jihadis that are giving Pakistan a hard time. India is facing terror that comes from across the border. There is a fundamental difference between the two. It will be good for Pakistan to be able to understand the distinction.

Addendum: Having been egged on by the ‘liberal’ Indian media,  Pakistan authorities including their interior minister have started a tirade against India and have said that they shall not send the Pakistan hockey team for the World Cup to be held in Delhi later this year. They have also threatened that Indian movies will not be allowed to be screened in Pakistan. As it were, very few Indian movies were being exported to Pakistan and this should not worry the Indian movie industry much. They fail to understand that they have a role to play in this Indian boycott of Pakistan players. They believe that offence is the best defence.

In the meanwhile, Robert Gates, Secretary of Defence was in Delhi and his mission was to probe the lucrative Indian defence market. He however, took time to praise India on the way we conducted ourselves after the Mumbai attacks. He went on to say that India may loose patience if there was another Mumbai like attack. He also added that jihadis wanted a India-Pakistan conflagration. These were sound bites meant for Indian consumption, knowing how sensitive we are about our security concerns of late. But his major focus was still, business in the field of military hardware.

An Aside: It may interest some to know that the great grandson of Qaide Azam (father of the nation) of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah is one of the franchisees of one of the IPL teams. The name of the team is Kings Eleven Punjab and the young man’s name is Ness Wadia. The Wadia’s are based in Mumbai and are very much Indians. His father Nusli Wadia is the owner of Bombay Dying and they have now shifted their attention on real estate and construction. Ness looks after IndiGo, their airlines business. Well, if the great grandson of the Qaide Azam decides that IPL does not need Pakistanis, then there must be something terribly wrong with the Pakistan of today!!! After creation of Pakistan they decided that their future was more secure in secular India than Islamic Pakistan. Food for thought.

Update 22.01.2010: Rather than understand the Indian distress and try and do something about it, the Pakistan authorities are belligerent and their interior minister, Rahman Malik has the chutzpah to claim that 26/11 attacks were orchestrated by India to malign Pakistan!!! This was in reference to the Indian sides insistence that Pakistan needs to understand India’s position on the continued terrorist attacks and need to do some kind of self appraisal. There is only one thing for sure – Pakistan is hell bent on going up the path of self destruction.

Meanwhile the two prominent lady franchise owners, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty Kundra along with the Commissioner, Lalit Modi called a press conference and complained that the press had gone overboard and blown the issue out of proportion. They informed that they had been receiving hate mails and that they were absolutely nonplussed as to how public opinion could dictate their investment decisions. It may be added here that Lalit Modi has the dubious distinction of getting his effigies burnt in Pakistan. In the meanwhile Rehman Malik has suggested that Indian franchisee owners apologise to Pakistan players and come to Pakistan with an invitation for them to be a part of the third edition of the IPL. The press has the grouse that the IPL franchisees are still not owning up that this was a collective decision taken by all of them to leave out Pakistan players. The way things are going, it could well be that the IPL owners may decide to leave out Pakistan players even in the next edition of the IPL.

Update 23.01.2009: There have been allegations from Pakistan that India contrived the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to malign Pakistan. There is another theory doing the rounds that the 7/7 London bombings were also planned and executed by the British government to give a bad name to Muslims. How does one react to such nonsense?

Update 31.01.2009: There was a comment by the Home Minister  about the need for better understanding and interaction between India and Pakistan. The IPL Commissioner softened his stand and it seemed that Pakistan players would be accommodated by some of the teams. The Pakistan players also seemed keen to join the IPL. One of the teams was reported to be on the verge of signing Abdul Razzak, the Pakistan all rounder. But then things cooled down a bit and it seems the government made it clear that their stand was not a diktat for the IPL to pick Pakistan players. This saw a directive by the Pakistan Cricket Board that the NOC for the players to play in the IPL had been withdrawn. The frostiness has resumed and the American government had issued an advisory to their citizens to avoid travelling to India, as they have intelligence of an imminent terror attack. Australia and New Zealand have voiced their concern for the safety of their players who participate in the IPL. The situation remains fluid.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. sravan permalink
    February 3, 2010 3:16 am

    Whom should we blame for the anger?
    The clever bureaucratic minds on both sides who have continuously been feeding fodder for the hatred? They have even succeeded in seeding the hatred by either twisting the historical facts or omitting them from school curriculum. We all have really enjoyed the result of Kargil War and other wars with Pakistan when we stood victorious. But what about the families that have lost their son’s and daughters in these mindless wars instigated by these so called nationalistic bureaucrats who seeded so much hatred against each other. There were historical mistakes on both sides and instead of presenting them unbiased most today see it from one-side and hevaely opinionated about the issue. Most even do not reach their 5th std. before they develop these opinions.
    Instead of raring hatreds we are supposed to inculcate hopes for peace and end of war. Remember saying that we are not the first to attack is not a word of peace but a word of caution. It definitely makes the people of India believe that we are fair and the other side is the devil.

    • sharma24 permalink*
      February 4, 2010 10:57 am

      Goodwill must be from both sides.

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